Leon Morin, Priest is the Pick of the Week

Legendary director Jean-Pierre Melville's 1961 non-gangster classic leads a rather slow week of releases.
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When talking about the great Jean-Pierre Melville, you're automatically drawn to his gangster oeurve, which he definitely excelled in. This is apparent because of iconic films such as Le Samourai, Le Cercle Rouge, and Le Deuxieme Souffle, among others. However, he was a filmmaker of many talents, reveling in dramas as well, such as Army Of Shadows, Le Silence De La Mer, and his spirtual 1961 effort Leon Morin, Priest, which is my Pick of the Week.

It stars film legend Jean-Paul Belmondo as Leon Morin, a man of the cloth who becomes the object of desire of all the women in a small village in Nazi-occupied France. He gets mostly drawn to a sexually repressed widow (the late, great Emmanuelle Riva) who is skeptical towards religion and finds herself in a confortation between God and her own desires. 

There was a Criterion release of the film, which was reviewed by Dusty Somers, but that's now out of print. However, you can now own the 128-minute director's cut, which has a little more special features than the Criterion edition. There is a new commentary by historian Mike Siegel, an interview with assistant director Volker Schlondorff, a master class documentary, a short film by Melville, and a theatrical trailer. Although the Criterion version had a 1961 interview with both Melville and Belmondo, and a selected-scene commentary, I think this new edition by Kino should be a great addition to any collection.

Other (notable) releases:

Le Doulos (Kino Lorber): A stylish noir from Melville with Belmondo as a poker-faced crook who may or may not have ratted out a newly sprung gangster.

Bob le Flambeur (Kino Lorber): Melville's first gangster outing as an aging gambler delves deep into the dark world of pimps, moneymen, and naive associates as he plots one final heist: a big time casino.

Putney Swope (Vinegar Syndrome): A dark satire from independent maverick Robert Downey Sr. centering on the token black man who is accidently put in charge of a predominately white ad agency, where he creates explicit ads that turn out to be less offensive than he thought.

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